University Innovation Fellows

Main Content

University Innovation Fellows

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become leaders of change in higher education. Fellows are creating a national movement to ensure that all students gain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge to compete in the economy of the future.

The program was created by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), a five-year National Science Foundation grant. The University Innovation Fellows is now a program of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( The program has trained 1,000 Fellows at 185 schools. They range from undergraduates to PhD students and engineering majors to architecture majors. All of them demonstrate a passion for innovation, creativity and the entrepreneurial mindset as well as a drive to make a lasting impact at their schools. Each university also invests in each Fellow for their training and participation at a national meet-up which includes activities at Google's campus and the Stanford  Deborrius Jeffries, one of SIU's University Innovation Fellows, wrote a great article about his recent trip, and Mary McGee added her perspective after this year's trip to the aforementioned locations.

Southern Illinois University had its first Fellow in 2013. There are currently six active student Fellows on campus and two faculty/staff members. Recent activities include half-day, design-thinking workshops, technology entrepreneurship activities, and the Saluki Innovation Series. 

SIU University Innovation Fellows

Name Year College
Katie Dzugan 2013 Colleges of Business & Mass Communications & Media Arts, MBA & Master of Arts (graduate)
Alex Hutchinson 2015 College of Business, Finance & Management (graduate)
Brandon Nolte 2015 College of Business, Management (graduate)
Dan Bach 2015 College of Mass Communication & Media Arts, Cinema & Photography (graduate)
Thomas Birch 2015 College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Information Systems Technology
Mara Decker 2016 College of Business, Marketing
Deborrius Jeffries 2016 College of Liberal Arts, Speech Communication
Trevor Jones 2016 College of Liberal Arts, Industrial Design
Asia Lee 2016 College of Business, MBA (graduate)
Robert Caswelch 2017 College of Liberal Arts, Art and Design
Mary McGee 2017 College of Liberal Arts, English
Lynn Andersen Lindberg 2016 Office of Economic and Regional Development
Karla Berry 2016 Center for Teaching Excellence